Advertisement

Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 503–520 | Cite as

Individual Pathways to Life Satisfaction: The Significance of Traits and Motives

  • Jan HoferEmail author
  • Holger Busch
  • Florian Kiessling
Research Paper

Abstract

This article examines the relationship between life satisfaction and specific facets of psychological well-being (positive relations with others and environmental mastery) by considering the moderating effect of significant components of personality, i.e., traits, values, and implicit motives. Constructs were assessed by the Satisfaction With Life Scale, the Scales of Psychological Well-Being (two subscales), the NEO Five-Factor Inventory, the Schwartz Value Survey (two value types), and a picture-story test (implicit motives for achievement and affiliation–intimacy). Analyses revealed that values, implicit motives, and personality traits moderated the relationship between both types of well-being measures. Findings indicate that personality components reflecting significant strivings and needs play a crucial role in seeking well-being by assigning meaning to given life domains.

Keywords

Life satisfaction Psychological well-being Implicit motives Values Traits 

Notes

Acknowledgment

This research was supported by a grant of the German Research Foundation (2435/2-1).

References

  1. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Borkenau, P., & Ostendorf, F. (1993). NEO-Fünf-Faktoren Inventar (NEO-FFI) nach Costa und McCrae. Handanweisung (NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) according to Costa and McCrae. Manual.). Göttingen: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  4. Brunstein, J. C., Schultheiss, O. C., & Grässmann, R. (1998). Personal goals and emotional well-being: The moderating role of motive dispositions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 494–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  7. Contrada, R. J. (1998). It is easier to accentuate the positive in the absence of physical disease. Psychological Inquiry, 9, 29–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  9. DeNeve, K. M., & Cooper, H. (1998). The happy personality: A meta-analysis of 137 personality traits and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 197–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Diener, E., Oishi, S., & Lucas, R. E. (2003). Personality, culture, and subjective well-being: Emotional and cognitive evaluations of life. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 403–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Diener, E., Sapyta, J. J., & Suh, E. (1998). Subjective well-being is essential to well-being. Psychological Inquiry, 9, 33–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Diener, E., Suh, E., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Heyns, R. W., Veroff, J., & Atkinson, J. W. (1958). A scoring manual for the affiliation motive. In J. W. Atkinson (Ed.), Motives in fantasy, action, and society (pp. 205–218). Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand.Google Scholar
  15. Hofer, J., Busch, H., Chasiotis, A., & Kiessling, F. (2006a). Motive congruence and interpersonal identity status. Journal of Personality, 74, 511–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hofer, J., Chasiotis, A., & Campos, D. (2006b). Congruence between social values and implicit motives: Effects on life satisfaction across three cultures. European Journal of Personality, 20, 305–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. John, O. P. (1990). The “Big Five” factor taxonomy: Dimensions of personality in the natural language, questionnaires. In L. A. Pervin (Ed.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp. 66–100). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  18. John, O. P., & Srivastava, S. (1999). The Big-Five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In L. A. Pervin & O. P. John (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp. 102–138). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  19. Kafka, G. J., & Kozma, A. (2002). The construct validity of Ryff’s Scales of Psychological Well-Being (SPWB) and their relationship to measures of subjective well-being. Social Indicators Research, 57, 171–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (1993). A dark side of the American dream: Correlates of financial success as a central life aspiration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 410–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kazén, M., & Kuhl, J. (2005). Intention memory and achievement motivation: Volitional facilitation and inhibition as a function of affective contents of need-related stimuli. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 426–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kraemer, H. C., Stice, E., Kazdin, A., Offord, D., & Kupfer, D. (2001). How do risk factors work together? Mediators, moderators, and independent, overlapping, and proxy risk factors. American Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 848–856.Google Scholar
  23. Kwan, C. M. L., Love, G. D., Ryff, C. D., & Essex, M. J. (2003). The role of self-enhancing evaluations in a successful life transition. Psychology and Aging, 18, 3–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Marcia, J. L. (1966). Development and validation of ego-identity status. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3, 351–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McAdams, D. P. (1980). A thematic coding system for the intimacy motive. Journal of Research in Personality, 14, 413–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McClelland, D. C. (1975). Power: The inner experience. New York: Irvington Publishers.Google Scholar
  27. McClelland, D. C. (1987). Human motivation. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. McClelland, D. C., Koestner, R., & Weinberger, J. (1989). How do self-attributed and implicit motives differ? Psychological Review, 96, 690–702.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McClelland, D. C., & Steele, R. S. (1972). Motivational workshops. General Learning Press.Google Scholar
  30. McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1990). Personality in adulthood. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  31. McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1991). Adding liebe und arbeit: The full five-factor model and well-being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 227–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Murray, H. A. (1938). Explorations in personality. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  33. O’Connor, B. P. (1998). SIMPLE: All-in-one programs for exploring interactions in moderated multiple regression. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 58, 833–837.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Oishi, S., Diener, E., Suh, E., & Lucas, R. E. (1999). Value as a moderator in subjective well-being. Journal of Personality, 67, 157–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Peabody, D., & Goldberg, L. R. (1989). Some determinants of factor structures from personality-trait descriptors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 552–567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pedhazur, E. J. (1997). Multiple regression in behavioral research. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace College Publishers.Google Scholar
  37. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ryff, C. D. (1989a). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069–1081.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ryff, C. D. (1989b). Beyond Ponce de Leon and life satisfaction: New directions in quest of successful ageing. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 12, 35–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ryff, C. D., & Keyes, C. L. M. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 719–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. (1998). The contours of positive human health. Psychological Inquiry, 9, 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schimmack, U., Oishi, S., Furr, R. M., & Funder, D. C. (2004). Personality and life satisfaction: A facet-level analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 1062–1075.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Schmutte, P. S., & Ryff, C. D. (1997). Personality and well-being: Reexamining methods and meaning. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 549–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schumacher, J. (2003). SWLS – Satisfaction with Life Scale. In J. Schumacher, A. Klaiberg, & E. Brähler (Eds.), Diagnostische Verfahren zu Lebensqualität und Wohlbefinden, Diagnostik für Klinik und Praxis, Band 2 (Diagnostic methods for quality of life and well-being: Clinical and practical diagnostics) (Vol. 2, pp. 305–309). Göttingen: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  46. Schwartz, S. H. (1992). Universals in the content, structure of values: Theoretical advances, empirical tests in 20 countries. In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 25, pp. 1–65). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  47. Schwartz, S. H. (1994). Are there universal aspects in the structure and contents of human values? Journal of Social Issues, 50, 19–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sheldon, K. M., Elliot, A. J., Kim, Y., & Kasser, T. (2001). What is satisfying about satisfying events? Testing ten candidate psychological needs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 325–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sheldon, K. M., & Kasser, T. (1995). Coherence and congruence: Two aspects of personality integration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 531–543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Smith, C. P. (Ed.) (1992). Motivation and personality: Handbook of thematic content analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Smith, C. P., Feld, S. C., & Franz, C. E. (1992). Methodological considerations: Steps in research employing content analysis systems. In C. P. Smith (Ed.), Motivation and personality: Handbook of thematic content analysis (pp. 515–536). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Staudinger, U. M., Lopez, D. F., & Baltes, P. B. (1997). The psychometric location of wisdom-related performance: Intelligence, personality, more? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 1200–1214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tabachnik, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (1996). Using multivariate statistics. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  54. Veenhoven, R. (1991). Is happiness relative? Social Indicators Research, 24, 1–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Vittinghoff, E., & McCulloch, C. E. (2007). Relaxing the rule of ten events per variable in logistic and Cox regression. American Journal of Epidemiology, 165, 710–718.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Waterman, A. S. (1993). Two conceptions of happiness: Contrasts of personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) and hedonic enjoyment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 678–691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Waterman, A. S. (2007). Doing well: The relationship of identity status to three conceptions of well-being. Identity, 7, 289–307.Google Scholar
  58. Winter, D. G. (1994). Manual for scoring motive imagery in running text. University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  59. Winter, D. G. (1996). Personality: Analysis and interpretation of lives. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany

Personalised recommendations